For children, characters are very important when evaluating stories. Therefore, characters from films , books, audio plays , apps, and advertisements represent an essential media reference for children. In general, there are heroes and antiheroes whom children admire or reject.
Across all media, a multitude of different types of characters can be identified in terms of appearance, personality traits or behaviour. Due to the different possibilities of animation and representation, various (anti)heroes have been created.
Media characters not only convey the story but also provide knowledge about social roles and behavioural patterns. Regardless of their diversity, all imaginary characters created for children have one thing in common: in comparison with real people, their complexity is greatly weakened.
Therefore, fictional characters for children can be usually assigned to a certain category, such as good or evil. In addition, they persistently hold the same opinion and rarely deviate from their roles or patterns of behaviour. This clear line in the representation of the characters is a key factor.
Only through very clear actions and characteristics can children understand the characters, use them for the evaluation of real persons or understand them as a guideline for their own actions. Both courageous and strong figures, as well as inferior, malicious or violent figures, exert fascination on children.
The current media offer for children is constantly growing with new content and characters. In addition, there is comprehensive advertising and merchandising offer. There are also characters that have accompanied several generations and are still on the market.
It is advisable for ECEC professionals to deal not only with current media offers for children but also with the child's perspective.
In order to understand why children are interested in media characters and which traits of the characters are particularly interesting, a detailed and differentiated examination is worthwhile.
Media characters offer children excellent opportunities to play and talk in everyday life. ECEC professionals can see the most varied forms of processing media experiences. Above all, media characters are used by children of these ages to draw, paint, and play together as a play idea or in conversations.
Due to the fact that media characters are of high importance to children of preschool age, it seems helpful to address the topic on "media heroes" during the various everyday children’s activities at ECEC centres.
By paying special attention to the children's environment, the children receive special appreciation and can present themselves as experts for their favourite characters. In addition, this interest can also provide information on topics that currently concern the child .